Home » Football Icons Who Left Their Mark on Tottenham Hotspur

Football Icons Who Left Their Mark on Tottenham Hotspur

By The Boy -

Working out the criteria for deciding the best players to have played for any one club or country, or even in a league or decade, is not easy. In the club category, there is no exact science in choosing between big names and cult heroes of different eras.

Covering only the post-World War II years, an attempt has been made to choose between the heroes who established the club’s modern reputation in the 1950s and 1960s and more recent stars.

Trawling back over 60-odd years of Tottenham history has been a lot of fun. Inevitably, some fantastic Spurs players have missed out on being deemed one of the club’s 20 best.
If nothing else, this one has been intended to celebrate some of the most varied, talented, and hugely accomplished players wearing the famous old cockerel on their chests.

Dave Mackay

Blanchflower’s importance to this team is only by the smallest degree below Mackay’s but coupled with his tremendous ability, the force of will the Edinburgh man instilled in Spurs’ greatest-ever team was the ingredient that transformed them from good into legendary.

The famous image of Mackay grabbing a frightened Billy Bremner has seen him egregiously cast as merely a hardman in some misinformed opinions. While he was certainly tough, Mackay was no thug; rather, he was a dominating midfield presence with footballing nous of the highest order.

Defensively, Mackay could be relied upon to do a shift and was as comprehensive as they come in winning the ball. From there, he combined ably alongside Blanchflower and in support of others like White and Jones.

Though he missed the 1962-63 European Cup Winners’ Cup final through injury, he more than played his part in Spurs becoming the first English team to win a European competition.
Four years later, he was again instrumental in their FA Cup success. By now, club captain and operating from a more defensive station, Mackay’s role was all the more impressive considering he had to return from breaking his leg twice.

Danny Blanchflower

A fellow player has never matched Danny Blanchflower‘s combined leadership, intelligence, and understanding of football in the history of British football. Those attributes have seen him attain a near-mythical status in Tottenham folklore, coming from the mind of a man whose famous quote about glory remains the essence of the club’s aspirations.

What those qualities did was enable Blanchflower to serve as the on-field lieutenant for Bill Nicholson, helping implement his manager’s instructions both in word and deed. When the situation demanded it, he was trusted enough to make on-field changes himself. The closest successful modern equivalent is the relationship players like Xavi and Andres Iniesta had with Pep Guardiola at Barcelona.

It was only sometimes so apparent the Blanchflower/Nicholson relationship would work. Indeed, the Northern Irishman had only sometimes gotten on well with managers at Spurs and previous clubs. The new man in charge at White Hart Lane would soon come to understand his value, a change in mindset that heralded the arrival of an incredible few years.

Moreover, betting on Tottenham games has become a tradition for many of the club’s ardent supporters. As the team’s legacy has grown, so has the enthusiasm of fans to engage in predicting match outcomes and placing wagers.

Many Tottenham fans frequently visit sports betting sites to stay updated with the latest odds and place their bets. These platforms offer insights, statistics, and predictions that can guide fans in making informed decisions.

Glenn Hoddle

Tottenham’s most gifted player since the 1960s, Glenn Hoddle, is the greatest footballer the club has produced by a long shot. Hoddle netted 110 times altogether for Spurs. If assists were recorded as they are now, that statistic would be similarly impressive.
Numbers, though, were not the measure of this man.

Hoddle was a supreme conductor for a Spurs team that, over his time at the club, would feature many top players who looked even better thanks to him. His glorious passing ability was based upon an interpretation of the surrounding game that few English players since can claim to have been blessed with.

For all the accusations of Hoddle being a luxury player, he more than held his own during a period largely more physical than today. The midfielder would not have thrived as he did if this had not been so, and having spent a year in Division Two, he had certainly tested himself in surroundings less appropriate for his talent.

Along with Perryman, Ardiles, Graham Roberts, Garth Crooks, and Steve Archibald, Hoddle helped Spurs back to the company level the club had gotten used to in the Nicholson years.

Jimmy Greaves

Jimmy Greaves may have arrived at White Hart Lane even earlier but for confusion in the transition process between managers Arthur Rowe and Jimmy Anderson. The teenage striker was overlooked, and Chelsea would enjoy his early years: Greaves scored an astonishing 124 goals in 157 appearances for the Blues.

Greaves was a phenomenal goal-scorer for Spurs. He had more about him than his finishing, but putting the ball in the back of the net was what he lived for. During his time in North London, the striker’s goal ratio stood at an extraordinary 70 percent. Those goals counted for plenty, too.

In the 1962 FA Cup, he scored nine throughout the tournament, including one in the 3-1 final win over Burnley. Five were scored on the way to their European Cup Winners’ Cup success the following season (including two in the final), while Greaves would record a further six on the way to the 1967 FA Cup win.

Pat Jennings

Keith Burkinshaw got a lot right in his time as Tottenham manager, but one thing he did get wrong was selling Pat Jennings to Arsenal in 1977, soon after Spurs had been relegated to the Second Division.

It was a judgment call by Burkinshaw, who believed Jennings’ best days were gone—a mistake for sure, but it was his job to make and what he thought was the best choice at the time. Only after the arrival of Clemence in 1981 did Tottenham truly find a replacement for the monumental Jennings, who was still, at that point, going strong with the Gunners. Knowing it was not his decision, Spurs fans didn’t blame the Northern Irishman like they would Sol Campbell many years later.

Having cemented his place as Tottenham’s No. 1, he never again looked like giving it up. Jennings was a genuine all-rounder, as dominant in the air as composed and controlling in denying opposition attackers on the ground.

Acknowledged as a player of the year by football writers and his fellow players in ’73 and ’76 respectively, Jennings won an FA Cup (1966-67), a UEFA Cup (1971-72), and two League Cups (’71, ’73) during his time at Tottenham.

Steve Perryman

Outside of Tottenham circles, Steve Perryman is probably one of the most undervalued of their former greats—at least in the eyes of history, since players like the more glamorous Glenn Hoddle or iconic Danny Blanchflower are more immediately appealing.
Perryman, though, was everything to the Spurs.

His versatility was his biggest strength; he excelled as a midfielder, centre-back, and right-back. Of course, he is also the club’s record appearance holder (854 competitive appearances, give or take a game depending on the source) and a revered and cherished captain who led his team for a decade.

Early in his Tottenham career, Perryman impressed upon getting his chance and established himself in the team. He played his part in two League Cup successes in 1971 and 1973, scoring two wonderful volleys that set them on their way to a semifinal win over AC Milan in 1972 (and an eventual UEFA Cup success). For his efforts, Perryman was voted Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association in 1982.
Final Thoughts

Given the accomplishments and milestones set by these players, give proof of why they are mentioned among the greats. Their loyalty and ambition to their home team is to be remembered as a yardstick for other teams. Tottenham Hotspur is a team with such an enriched history that they are lucky to have all these legends among themselves.

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